Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Conversations with Angie: Finally reconciling evil with God's goodness


But there's still evil in the world, and that has to be reconciled with the existence of a wholly good God. That can be done like so:

7. Since God is wholly good, God has a good reason for everything he does.
8. God created a world with evil in it.
9. Therefore, God has a good reason for creating a world with evil in it.

What, in Plantinga's argument, was offered as merely a possibility turns out to be necessarily true. There is a good reason for evil.

Since we've come to this conclusion by deductive reasoning, the conclusion must necessarily be true. And yet we don't know what all of his reasons are. We're especially at a loss to know what God's reasons are for particular evils that seem pointless to us. But it isn't necessary for us to know what God's reasons are since we've arrived at the conclusion by deduction from true premises.

I think the argument I've been making answers every argument from the problem of evil. They all depend on there being real evil, and if there is evil, then there's God. Evil doesn't disprove God; rather, it proves God. So all arguments against God from evil are incoherent. As soon as you deny God, you lose any basis for saying anything is really evil, and once you have no basis for calling anything evil, you have no basis for objection.

Sorry this email was so long. I couldn't figure out a way to break it up without losing the flow.


Conversations with Angie:  Angie suggestions cultural relativism


At 7/19/2005 8:20 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

How about one day you create a few blogs on how you, personally, analyze (and compose) an argument and make sure it's logically valid & sound?

I'm not talking about logical rules and things like that though, I mean, a more real-life adaptation.

For example, in Monday's blog you posted 3 arguments to show that God is necessarily good. How about spending some time one day to show how you came up with them, and how you analyzed the argument against a good God via evil?

I think that would be pretty interesting, lol.

At 7/20/2005 1:27 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Yeah, that would be interesting. Hard, too! I think maybe what it is, is that after reading and participating in a lot of debates and arguments, your mind just sort of automatically starts working a certain way. It's hard to give a general technique for coming up with an argument, because I don't really feel like I'm using a technique.

At 7/20/2005 2:11 AM , Blogger daleliop said...

hmm, well I think I remember you saying that you try to remain agnostic on an issue before you know enough about it, instead of jumping to conclusions. That's something good to keep in mind when looking at an issue, especially for significantly more controversial issues when it's tempting to take sides quickly (especially if you are a Christian, for example, and know that there is certain pressure to support or oppose an issue for that very reason, like abortion)

Maybe you can mention things like that, that help you analyze an argument well? (In this case, helping you analyze objectively)

Or, maybe you can just write down your thought process as they come to you when you are making or analyzing an argument.

Like, for me when I was writing this post:

1. "Hmm, although you say you can not give a general process, I do remember that you mentioned this, and it's kind of like a good tip to keep in mind"

2. "hmm, an example where this tip would be useful would be a controversial issue, like abortion (I was going to say Harry Potter books too, but decided not to, cause that might open a can of beans)"

3. "perhaps tips like this could be insightful even if you can't give a straight process"

4. "Oh, hmm, how about writing down thoughts as they come to you as you read an argument? Or compose an argument?"

5. "I know, I'll give a demonstration"

etc. lol. So, what do you think?

At 7/20/2005 2:35 AM , Blogger Steve said...

I think that the logical argument assumes to much to be valid!

You have 8 assumptions that are all logically deduced from the premise that God exists, which is a belief... faith. Which, while perhaps rational, is not logical in a philosophical sense.

You could construct a logical model where God does not exist, and be no more incorrect, empirically.

At 7/20/2005 2:42 AM , Blogger Steve said...

correct me if Im wrong, but the only proof that can come from a tautology is another tautology... god is unprovable... even if we can deduce certain truths about him IF we assume certain core ideas.

But it is in those core assumptions that we differentiate between the different faiths, and between theists and atheists.

At 7/20/2005 2:53 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...


I'll give it some thought. I can see how it would be helpful if somebody could come up with something like that. I wish somebody would write a book like that.


The assumption I begin with is not that God exists, but that good and evil exist. I derive the existence of God from the assumption that good and evil exist.

I'm not sure what tautologies have to do with whether you can prove God's existence or not. Could you clarify what you meant there?

I think it's possible for theists and atheists to debate, because they usually do share some common views. You can't prove anything to somebody who doesn't accept your premises, but I think there is enough common ground between theists and atheists, that some debate can take place. For example, they both usually agree that the universe exists, that the laws of logic are valid, etc.


At 7/20/2005 3:52 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

Sam: Even though I haven't commented much, I've enjoyed reading your "Conversations with Angie". Sometimes I get bogged down in all the details ... I guess my mind just hasn't started working a certain way yet, like your's has.

"you try to remain agnostic on an issue before you know enough about it, instead of jumping to conclusions."

That is a very interesting tip, and I agree with daleliop, knowing your thought process would be very informative.

At 7/20/2005 3:58 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Hi Kelly. I'm glad you let me know you've been reading it. Until Steve came along to liven things up, I thought I was boring everybody to death and nobody was reading it.

Yeah, I try to be agnostic about things I don't know enough about, but I do have biases and hunches and things like that.



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